Simply Delicious Crab Quesadillas

Crab and Tomato Quesadillas 1 3648x2736Recently, while going through some old files, I came across a recipe of mine for crab and tomato quesadillas. I hadn’t made these pan-fried tortilla sandwiches in years, but the ingredients sounded as delectable today as they did over a decade ago.

Flour tortillas were spread with a mixture of grated Jack cheese and cream cheese scented with citrus accents of orange and lemon. Then, a colorful mélange of crabmeat, diced tomatoes, and chopped green onions was added before the tortillas were folded in half and cooked on the stove top.

I tweaked the recipe slightly, replacing the lemon and orange seasonings with the more assertive flavor of lime. And instead of  Monterrey Jack, I used Mahon, a delicious slightly sharp Spanish cheese. I also experimented with both whole wheat and regular flour tortillas, and found that each worked well.

For a light supper, serve these quesadillas with a salad of shredded romaine, diced avocados, and some crispy bacon tossed in a lemon/olive oil dressing seasoned with cumin. Be forewarned, though, that this recipe yields four quesadillas or one per person. If you have robust eaters at your table, you might want to increase the recipe to serve at least two per person!


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Crab and Tomato Quesadillas

1 1/2 cups grated Mahon or Monterrey Jack cheese (See market note.)
2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp grated lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice
8 ounces crabmeat, well drained and picked over
1 cup seeded but unpeeled, finely diced plum tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onions including 2 inches of the green stems
Scant 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Four 7 to 8-inch tortillas, plain or whole wheat
Canola oil
4 large lime wedges for garnish

1. In a medium bowl, use a fork to mix together the Mahon or Monterrey Jack cheese, cream cheese, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice until well blended.

2. In another large bowl, stir together the crabmeat, tomatoes, green onions, and red pepper flakes, and then season with salt to taste.

3. Spread a fourth of the cheese mixture in a thin even layer over each tortilla going almost all the way to the edges. Then spoon a fourth of the crabmeat mixture over the cheese mixture on each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half and press gently with your fingers to seal.

4. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy skillet set over medium heat. When just barely hot, add two quesadillas. Press down on them with a metal spatula and cook until cheese has melted and tortillas are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add more oil if needed, and lower the heat if the tortillas start to brown too quickly. Remove and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.

5. Cut each quesadilla into three triangles and serve with a lime wedge for squeezing over.

Makes 4 quesadillas.

Market note: Mahon is a Spanish cow’s milk cheese that is somewhat sharp, salty, and easy to grate. It’s available at Whole Foods and in specialty cheese stores. You can substitute Monterrey Jack or white cheddar if you can’t find Mahon.

Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2015

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